Wednesday, September 23, 2009
It’s funny, but I have no desire to own any of the items associated with Thomas Sutherland; it is simply a matter of researcher’s curiosity to know more. And of all the items heard of, but not traced, a silver loving cup and an invitation stand out as the most compelling missing objects. The cup was a gift Sutherland received in Scotland, apparently in appreciation of having settled a strike between masters and apprentices. A metal case containing an invitation to Thomas Sutherland and his sons to attend a farewell dinner in their honour was also preserved. (As of the 1940s these were in the possession of the Munro and Williams families. I have no idea of their present whereabouts. Of course, I could always—once again—track the descendants….)
While the Geikie letter exchange suggests Sutherland was lacking in generosity—something contradicted by all other reports encountered—Sutherland was clearly a man of some importance and judgment if his peers depended on him to settle such contentious matters. I have read and re-read The Scotsman for references to Sutherland (and found them) but have located no notice of a dinner for him (though those for others were mentioned), nor a trade dispute. I do not even know what guild the dispute concerned—something the cup, if found, might resolve, allowing us to better understand his position in the community, and just what it was he gave up in coming to Upper Canada.